In response to The Times article, (November 4, 2019) 'Gangs targeting private schools to traffic Asian girls to Britain, it is revealed', Robin Fletcher, Chief Executive of the Boarding Schools' Association (BSA) says:
"BSA boarding schools work tirelessly to uphold the high standards set by the Home Office when issuing a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) and take their responsibility for recruiting and safeguarding students international or domestic very seriously.
"Our schools understand that sponsorship is a privilege and not a right. As a sector we work in conjunction with Home Office officials to ensure the visa system is not exploited by criminals and immediately report any suspicion of foul play.
"A small number of criminals and rogue agents have tried to exploit the system and use some schools to traffic children. On the very rare occasion this has happened our schools followed proper procedures, reporting to the Home Office and police, and worked with all agencies to track down and secure the welfare of the pupils involved. As a result, the BSA issued guidance to members advising extreme caution when recruiting from Vietnam."
Robin Fletcher, CEO, Boarding Schools’ Association
A statement was given to The Times on October 31, 2019, by Robin Fletcher, Chief Executive of the Boarding Schools’ Association:
"Our 500+ UK member schools put the welfare and safeguarding of their students first and comply with their legal obligations as visa sponsors.
"There are more than 28,000 international students at UK boarding schools and in the past two to three years we have been made aware of a small number of cases where there have been issues with students from Vietnam.
"Where this has happened we have always advised those schools affected to take all practical steps to ensure wherever possible students are safe, and to liaise with families and educational agents in Vietnam. And we have advised all our members to be vigilant when recruiting any students from Vietnam and have also worked with schools to inform the Home Office about any issues.
"While we obviously condemn any trafficking of young people to the UK, particularly via legitimate applications to our member schools, to our knowledge these are relatively isolated incidents involving a small number of students from one country."
For further information please contact Aileen Kane, COO, Boarding Schools' Association via firstname.lastname@example.org.